Traditional stews use fattier cuts of beef like chuck, and the meat cooks along with the other stew ingredients. But when you use a lean cut of meat, you can’t let it cook for that long or it will be dry and tough. Instead, we cook the meat very briefly in a skillet and then add it to the stew at the end so the beef stays juicy and tender.


2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups water

1/3 cup pearl barley

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cups peeled baby carrots

1 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons olive oil

3/4 pound beef, cut for stir-fry

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes


1. In a large saucepan, combine the broth, water, barley, garlic, thyme, and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Add the carrots and onion. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the beef and sauté until browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes to the stew. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in the beef and serve. Makes 4 servings

Chicken & Barley Stew In step 1, use tarragon instead of thyme. Use chicken cut for stir-fry instead of beef.

Nutrition Facts

per serving
calories 353
total fat 9.3g
saturated fat 2.4g
cholesterol 60mg
dietary fiber 10g
carbohydrate 41g
protein 30g
sodium 825mg

Good source of: beta carotene, fiber, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, zinc

Many of the recipes in this book contain off-the-shelf foods to help keep recipe prep effort to a minimum – a benefit for your arthritic hands. However, some foods – like canned beans – can hike up sodium levels. If you are carefully watching your sodium, be sure to read this before preparing this recipe: Sodium Intake and Salt in Recipes

From The Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library: Recipes for Arthritis Health, edited by John A. Flynn, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.R. and Lora Brown Wilder, Sc.D., M.S., R.D.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 01 Nov 2011

Last Modified: 07 Apr 2015